Image: Kura Forrester
It’s that time of year again, when Auckland’s Basement Theatre hosts its eighth annual holiday show. This year, after exhausting seemingly every possible holiday-themed topic (from remakes of Jesus Christ Superstar and Charles Dickens, to holiday murder mysteries, and more) Basement’s offering is about how to make a holiday theatre show.
Although a different celebrity or well-known Aotearoa figure will be guest-performing each night in The Opening Night Before Christmas, among the main cast is Kura Forrester. Best known for her performances as the lead in Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses, a police officer in What We Do in the Shadows and guest role in the upcoming second season of Find Me a Maori Bride, she’s also a well-known comedian, having performed her sell-out solo show Tiki Tour at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival in 2015 (at which she won the Best Newcomer Award). In 2016 she starred in another comedy festival show, Camping, with Tom Sainsbury and Chris Parker.
She recently took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with Villainesse about the show, feminism, and the importance of theatre – and holiday-themed theatre in particular. Here’s what she had to say.
Villainesse: I understand there will be a different guest each night in The Opening Night Before Christmas, including Amanda Billing, Olivia Tennet, Nic Sampson, Jackie van Beek, Kimberley Crossman, Morgana O’Reilly, Fasitua Amosa, Laura Daniel, Jaquie Brown, Jarod Rawiri, Harry McNaughton, Claire Chitham, Tammy Davis and more. What kinds of challenges does that present?
Kura Forrester: We are wanting the celebrity to come in not knowing anything and to win every scene! They should be relaxed and free to play themselves, I’m looking forward to what each person comes up with!
What do you enjoy about being in a production like this?
Being able to play a strong character with outrageous physical comedy. Being able to have great “lols” in rehearsals and hanging out with my mates.
What do you see as the role of theatre in 2016, and holiday-themed theatre in particular? Does it fill a particular niche?
It’s just a big joyful fun way to celebrate the end of the year. A chance to get together for a crazy funny night out and start of the silly season well.
What are some things about being involved with theatre that you wish friends and family who aren’t involved knew?
That theatre can be all sorts of different things and it’s not just for certain people, theatre can be for everyone.
What is it you love most about theatre?
The live thrill of it all! The chance to execute well-rehearsed things and of course to entertain the shit out of people.
Is the theatre empowering? If so, in what ways?
It can empower audiences to see different points of view and realise we have more in common as people than we think.
What does feminism mean to you?
Same thing it should to everyone – that we are all the same. All human.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Come to our show! I promise you will love it!
The Opening Night Before Christmas runs until December 22 at The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD. Tickets are available here.